Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a 'non-story', says Russian ambassador

29 July 2022, 17:48

Tom Swarbrick questions Russian Ambassador over Lebedev affair

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson's meeting with former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev is a "non-story", the Russian ambassador to the UK has told LBC.

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Boris Johnson recently admitted travelling to Italy when he was foreign secretary to meet Mr Lebedev, a former KGB agent with close ties to Vladimir Putin, without any officials present.

Speaking to LBC's Tom Swarbrick, Russian ambassador Andrei Kelin said it was a "non-story" that was not "interesting" to him.

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"It's a non-story, actually," he said when Tom asked what he knew about it.

"I have nothing to [say] about it."

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He said he had "heard" about it but said: "Mostly I have read it in your newspapers but it is not very interesting for me."

When asked he said he did not know anything "at all" about what was said in the meeting.

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Tom then asked if it was normal for KGB agents to meet with British foreign secretaries with no officials present.

"Probably it is a normal practise for Boris Johnson to fly to Italy," said Mr Kelin.

"Why not?"

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Labour has previously demanded an investigation into the meeting.

Deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper wrote to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Kit Malthouse, calling for a probe into the extent of the security risks presented by the meeting.

"The chaos currently enveloping your administration must not be a distraction from addressing serious issues around our national security," the letter concluded.

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"The country needs to know that our national security is being fully protected and that these serious concerns are being properly addressed."

Ms Rayner said Mr Johnson "poses an ongoing threat to national security" and said there should be "no more concealment".

"This murky affair has been covered up for too long already," she said.

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